Posted 23 April 2014
Aside from preparing students for a career in land agency, the REALM course at Harper Adams University also boasts some of the most experienced academic staff, all of which have ‘earned their stripes’ working in industry.
This includes Livestock Auctioneer and Principal Lecturer in Rural Land Management and Valuation, Mark Simcock.
Mark studied Rural Enterprise and Land Management (REALM) at Harper Adams University when it was known as Harper Adams Agricultural College, graduating in 1997. He then passed the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) in 1999 and examinations for fellowship of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers in 2001.
It was during his placement year at Harper Adams that he was given the opportunity to work at his local livestock markets in Staffordshire for Chartered Surveyors, Daniel & Hulme. He was later offered a graduate position and stayed with the firm for 11 years, progressing to Associate Partner in 2005, as well as Director of Leek Auctions Limited a few years later.
Mark, who lives in Staffordshire, said: “As a youngster, I was convinced that I wanted to be either a Veterinary Surgeon or a Livestock Auctioneer.
“As a farmer’s son I had always attended the livestock market and one day when I was 16, one of the auctioneers, Bruce Daniel, asked me if I could help him out in the calf ring at Newcastle Livestock Market.
“I did and from that day he provided me with frank advice about the livestock auctioneering industry and promoted the career of Chartered Surveying to me, which tends to go alongside the role of the Livestock Auctioneer.
“He offered me work experience through all of my school holidays, and a few weeks later at the ripe old age of 17, I was working at the livestock market with Bruce who was selling Leylandii trees. He turned to me and said ‘you have a go’, which I did and hence my career as a Livestock Auctioneer began.
“My tuition under Bruce as an Auctioneer and Chartered Surveyor was invaluable to me and is representative of the Chartered Surveying profession today. My first professional job was to organise the annual sale of grazing land for Daniel & Hulme. In doing that I began to meet and help such a wide range of interesting and wonderful people in the agricultural community in a lovely part of the world that I thought, what better job was there than this?”
Mark took on his teaching role at Harper Adams in 2008 and now lectures in the areas of valuation, professional practice, compulsory purchase, taxation and estate management. He hopes that his practical background will help the students to appreciate and understand some of the more complicated aspects of providing advice to farmers and land owners.
“I continue to do what I can to maintain a presence in professional practice by auctioneering at the weekends. I also do what I can to keep in touch with practice through working with some practising Chartered Surveyors,” added Mark.
Mark is currently an assessor for the RICS APC as well as an examiner for the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV). He is secretary of the North Staffordshire RICS Local Association.
He added: “Outside of Harper, I run a small hill farm in North Staffordshire with my father. I also get involved with the local community by being on the Parish Council and I am the secretary of the Manifold Valley Agricultural Society that organises a small agricultural show in the heart of the Peak District every August.
“I think the technical and practical skills that I have developed over the years as a Chartered Surveyor allow me to be helpful and useful in a huge range of contexts professionally and personally, and in many respects, it makes you feel that you have something to offer.
“The people are what make the career rewarding for me. Farmers and landowners are a breed of people who are tremendously resilient and welcoming. Never has there been a time when my advice has not been preceded by tea and cake around the kitchen table.”